Are you interested in finding ways to make meals easier? It would be nice if there’s a way to speed up the planning process. Come see these meal planning ideas that will inspire you!
Meal planning can seem like an overwhelming task. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be. There are lots of great meal planning ideas out there that will make it much easier!
Find Recipes for Meal Planning Ideas
*This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (This means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, I will earn a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Obviously, before you can start meal planning, you need to have recipes to make! If you already have recipes, that’s great. If you’re looking for even more recipes to add to your collection, here’s some great ideas for you.
If you want to live a healthy lifestyle, having lots of recipes to choose from to help you plan healthy family meals is important. Since we had to start living a heart healthy lifestyle, I did lots of research. I found lots of great cookbooks full of delicious, easy to make meals.
Some of the cookbooks I found are specifically heart healthy, and others are just healthy cookbooks in general. There are even healthy slow cooker recipes and recipes for kids.
Here’s the post where I show you all of the cookbooks I’ve found: The Best Healthy Cookbooks.
If you also want to live frugally and not spend tons of money on your meals, I found a great cookbook for that! It is a very comprehensive cookbook that has everything you need to know about frugal living, cooking, running your household, cleaning, and even beauty.
The cookbook includes easy to find ingredients, quick and easy recipes, and recipes your family will actually eat.
Here’s the post for that cookbook: The Best Frugal Cookbook I’ve Found.
If looking through cookbooks for recipes isn’t for you, then done for you meal plans is your solution!
The $5 meal plan is a great solution for busy moms who want to save time and money! It’s a weekly meal plan service that helps make your meal planning quick and easy. It’s only $5 a month, and you’ll receive a meal plan where every meal only costs about $2 per person. The best thing is, there’s a 14-day free trial!
Related Post: How the $5 Meal Plan Can Save You Time and Money
Organize Your Recipes for Your Meal Planning Ideas
The second thing you need to do is organize your recipes. In order to meal plan, most importantly, you need to know what to make. Certainly, that can be difficult if your recipes are all over the place!
If you’re like me and have collected recipes from magazines over the years, you might have a lot of loose papers or recipe cards laying around. I have all of mine in file boxes . I have a file box for recipes we want to try and a file box for recipes I’ve already tried and we liked.
They’re all organized under categories. For example, under “b” are beef recipes, bread recipes, and brownie recipes. Each set of recipes are clipped together. That way, when I’m planning my meals, I just have to look under the category and grab the next recipe in line. I put the recipes I just used in the front, and I pull out one from the back to use next.
Some of you may be wondering, what in the world is Trello? If you haven’t heard of it before, you’re going to love it! It’s an awesome free tool on the computer to help keep you organized. For example, Trello can be used to help you organize your recipes.
My friend, Shelley, is awesome at organizing, and she organizes her recipes on Trello. She says:
“For years I’d rush home from work with 3 hungry kids in tow. They were starving and whining….I was stressed and exhausted. The “What’s for dinner?” question was one I dreaded every single night because at the end of the day, I was too tired to make even one more decision.
Once I learned to meal plan the hard part was done! No longer did I have to wonder what I was going to serve for dinner…I already knew.”
If you want to be like Shelley and have your meal plan done and organized, check out her meal planning ideas. She has a video that walks you through how to set up your recipes on Trello. The awesome thing is, in addition, she’s even included some recipes for you too!Are you interested in finding ways to make meals easier? Want to speed up the planning process? Come see these meal planning ideas that will inspire you!Click To Tweet
Organize Your Pantry So Your Meal Planning Ideas Can Be Done Quickly
So, you have all of your recipes all ready to go, and it’s time to look through your pantry and see what you need to add to your grocery list. But wait, that’s going to take forever because your pantry is a mess! Let’s get your pantry organized so making your grocery list can go quickly.
First, you need to look through your pantry and pull everything out. I like to do this one shelf at a time, so it’s not so overwhelming. While you’re doing this, remember to check expiration dates to make sure everything’s still good.
Now that everything’s pulled out, you don’t want to just shove it all back in randomly. You need to do this in an organized fashion so that it’s much easier to meal plan in the future too! Of course, my friend Shelley the organizer, has a great post about organizing your pantry: 5 Steps to Organize Your Kitchen Pantry.
By the way, as you’re organizing your pantry, you can go ahead and make a meal plan with all of the ingredients you just discovered you had in your pantry! I give you tips on how to do that in my post, How to Save Money by Shopping Your Pantry.
Where Do You Put All of These Meal Planning Ideas?
Okay, so now that you’ve found all of these great recipes, you’ve organized them, and you’ve organized your pantry, what’s next? Well, you need to start writing down your meal plans! There are so many great resources out there to help you.
Once I’ve gathered up all of the recipes I’m going to use for the week, I need somewhere to put them for the whole family to see. My kids like to look at it and see what we’re going to have for dinner. I use a whiteboard with a magnet on the back, so I can put it on the refrigerator.
The whiteboard is a huge organization help for me. It is listed by day, Monday – Sunday.
I write what dinner meals I’m making in red, and then the other things I’m making in black.
I look at it every day to see what meat I need to take out for the next meal, or to see what I need to make that day.
Related Post: 10 Easy Steps to Help You Make a Grocery List.
Some people prefer to meal plan on a piece of paper. There are tons of different printable meal planning ideas. Some are weekly, and some are monthly. You can either use a new sheet every week/month or you can laminate the paper and re-use it every week.
There are tons of different meal planning printables on Etsy. Some of them even include shopping lists/grocery lists too! Here’s a few that stood out to me. You can click on the picture to go to that exact meal planning printable, or click the link above to go to the meal planning category.
You’re Ready to Get Started With All These Meal Planning Ideas
Okay, so now that you’ve found all your recipes and they’re all organized, you know what you have in your pantry, and you have your printables, you’re ready to get started. You should have everything you need in order to meal plan.
The great thing is, that once you’ve done all of these initial things, each weekly meal planning session will go very quickly. Since everything is already ready to go, you just have to write down your plan and your grocery list each week. Once you have several meal plans done, you can start rotating them. That will make things even easier!
If you still don’t feel ready to meal plan, and need any help or have any questions, please ask or comment and I’ll be happy to help!
I even have 5 healthy family meals, including a grocery list below this image, in order to help you get started!
If you enjoyed this article, please pin the image below and share it with your followers. Thanks!